Brian Cross was the only son of James Cross and Eliza Kate Cross (née Jones) from Herefordshire. He was born in Hereford in 1921 and had a younger sister, Pauline, born in 1926. His father, who was from Lancashire, served as Broadway’s Postmaster for many years having worked for the Post Office since 1913.
Brian was educated at Hereford High School and Evesham Grammar School. On leaving school, Brian went to work for Lloyds Bank in Selly Oak. It is not known when his parents moved to Broadway but his sister and parents are recorded as living at 45 Leamington Road, Broadway, in the 1939 Register.
Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Brian, aged 18, enlisted with the RAF and served as a Leading Aircraftman (LAC). In 1942, Brian was based at RAF Staverton which served as a training base for No. 6 Air Observer School1. On 24th August 1942, a practice bombing flight in a twin-engined Avro Anson crashed 25 minutes after taking off from Staverton. Its crew of three; pilot Sergeant Edward Perkins, aged 20, LAC Lawrence Roper2, aged 29, and LAC Brian Cross, aged 21, struck high ground at Stockend Wood, north of Stroud. Brian was taken to Stroud Hospital but died of his injuries on 27th August 1942.
Brian was later cremated in Cheltenham and his ashes were scattered in the Garden of Remembrance at Cheltenham Crematorium and an RAF service was held in his honour. After Brian’s death, his parents moved to Leek, Staffordshire, in 1944, where James worked at the Post Office until his retirement. His sister, Pauline married locally.
Brian is commemorated on the Broadway War Memorial, the Roll of Honour in St Michael and All Angels Church and on the bronze memorial plaque on the wall in the cloisters at Cheltenham Crematorium. Staverton Airport, now Gloucestershire Airport, is currently raising money to erect a memorial to LAC Brian Cross and the other men who trained or flew from RAF Staverton.
We will remember them.
- From 1938, reservist airman could be trained at Staverton by civilian organisations.
- Sgt Edward Perkins and LAC Lawrence Roper are buried in Gloucester Cemetery.